Are new Uber drivers in Calgary subject to criminal background checks?

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Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft have had a hard time of things in Calgary, with the city initially barring such services due to concerns that drivers did not possess adequate insurance to cover themselves and their passengers when they were driving as part of their profession/employment rather than operating vehicles as private citizens.

Now, Mayor Nenshi and others in Calgary are demanding that Uber (and possibly other such services) use the Calgary Police to conduct background checks before approving new drivers:

"[Uber is] claiming their background checks are good enough but they just had to a $28-and-a-half-million-dollar settlement in the US for making too many claims about their background checks," Calgary's mayor said. "We know very well that at least one driver here in Calgary made it through their background check despite having an active assault charge in front of them. So it is not good enough.”

Note that Mayor Nenshi singled out the fact that a Calgary driver had been approved while facing "an active assault charge," meaning a charge that had yet to be proven in court. Apparently the mayor believes that the presumption of innocence shouldn't apply to Uber drivers—or at least so it would seem.

Uber is definitely completing some type of background check, it just hasn't been clear to the public exactly what their process is. Uber claims that they run a social security trace on every potential driver to identify addresses associated with the potential driver’s name during the past seven years. After this Uber then completes the criminal background check to search for the individual's name and addresses in a series of national, provincial and local databases for convictions in the last seven years.

While this seems a miscarriage of justice, the laws surrounding Uber and other ride-sharing apps are still murky at best, and until they're settled there are likely to be other points of confusion and even outright injustice that everyone in Calgary will have to contend with.

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